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Diamondbacks, Dodgers have 'a history'

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SYDNEY, Australia - The door is left slightly ajar.

When the Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers open the major league season Saturday at the hallowed Sydney Cricket Grounds, the game marks the first time the teams meet in a championship contest since last September.

That's when the Dodgers clinched the National League West Division and celebrated by jumping in the Chase Field pool. That exacerbated an already sour feeling felt by the Diamondbacks and the professional humiliation of watching an opponent clinch a title on your home turf.

Now, the teams renew their rivalry and sentiments differ.

"That's all behind us," said D-backs general manager Kevin Towers standing along the first base line and watching his team work out Wednesday afternoon. "What happened was last year and this is a new year. We have our work cut out for us and know this will be a competitive series."

Perhaps, but players tend to have long memories and two factors may influence the nature of the series.

While the recent focus reflects the Dodgers' behavior after the clinched the NL West title in Phoenix, a brawl, earlier in the season, lit the fuse.

Former D-back Ian Kennedy represented the catalyst for a bench-clearing altercation last June when he apparently threw at several hitters, including Yasiel Puig. The "bad blood" appeared to spill over to Chase Field and the method in which the Dodgers used to celebrate clinching the NL West title.

If the Diamondbacks are ready to move forward and forget last year completely, the events could linger for the Dodgers.

"I don't know if anything will happen but maybe there could," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "Look, what happened last year was last year. It's over. Time to move on and it's a new season."

Events like the brawl of last summer or the Dodgers' victory around the Chase Field pool, according to D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, are an aberration.

"These things are not normal," he said after the D-backs workout on Wednesday. "They don't happen very often. They just don't happen."

Yet, the game plan will be set in Gibson rock and granite.

"We'll be aggressive," he added. "Our focus is to win the game and take these guys down. Yet whatever happens, we'll be ready."

Gibson cited the 2011 season in which the Diamondbacks de-throned the San Francisco Giants as NL West kingpins. He described his team as ready and prepared.

"The character of the team is defined as the season progresses," he said. "Along the way, our resolve will be tested."

A MONSTER WITHIN THE DIVISION

In speaking to the media prior to the Dodgers' workout Wednesday, L. A. skipper Don Mattingly was asked his impression of Paul Goldschmidt, the D-backs first baseman.

Tied for home runs and led the NL in RBIs last season, Goldschmidt is no longer a blur on anyone's radar screen.

"He's a beast," Mattingly said. "He very tough to pitch because he's always making adjustments. He's killed us in the past and he's especially tough inside. He is just a tough out, period.

ROSTER MOVES

General manager Kevin Towers told reporters during the D-backs' workout Wednesday that outfielder Cody Ross and left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds will likely be placed on the Disabled List within the next few days.

Ross sustain a major hip injury last August in a game against the Mets at Chase Field while Reynolds underwent Tommy John surgery last September and likely will miss the entire 2014 season.

Elsewhere ... manager Kirk Gibson seems confident right-hander Bronson Arroyo, who did not make the trip to Sydney, will be able to take his turn in the rotation during the first week of the season.

Currently, Arroyo is trying to recover from a bulging disk in his back and his rehab is reported to be slow.

OPENING NIGHT CHANGE

Gibson also announced lefty Wade Miley will open the season Saturday night here.

Miley replaces Patrick Corbin, who is sidelined with damage to his left elbow. Corbin was slated to start against the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw but now, Corbin's season appears in jeopardy.

In 2013, Miley, a 27 year-old out of Hammond, La., went 10-10 with a 3.55 ERA. In 73 career major league games, Miley is 30-23 and a 3.54 ERA.

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